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Arusha
Arusha
Arusha

Arusha is a lovely town with amazing accommodation options...

...like small lodges...

You can enjoy a day by the pool...

Arusha

Arusha: in detail

Situated near the Kenyan border, the bustling town of Arusha stands in the foothills of Mount Meru at an altitude of about 1,500m. Although the town is not usually a destination in itself, it is the most popular and convenient springboard from which to explore the legendary northern game-viewing circuit.

In Arusha practically everything centers on the safari industry. From 1978 to today, it has risen from ninth largest town to second-largest town, with a population of 270,000. It is likely that the driving force behind Arusha's steady rise is the lure of the tourist dollar.

Apart from shopping for curios, there are not many things in Arusha to occupy a visitors time. That said, only 45 minutes from Arusha town is the most accessible and arguably underrated of northern Tanzania's national parks - Arusha National Park, which is detailed below.

Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park is often overlooked by travelers rushing to the more famous sights of the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti. However, with a little time, Arusha National Park offers some lovely walking in the foothills of Mount Meru and canoeing on the Momela Lakes, plus gentle game drives. If you have the time it is well worth a day or two.

There are a range of activities to do in Arusha National Park. This includes walking safaris which are always accompanied by a ranger and last for a maximum of four hours, during which you would stop for a break at one of the park's lovely picnic sites. You can also explore the far reaches of the park by vehicle, taking in some of the lovely views and keeping an eye out for wildlife. Another great activity here and one not found in other safari parks in Tanzania, is a canoeing safari which allows you to explore the Momela Lakes.

Flora & Fauna of Arusha National Park

Within the park there are three broad areas to be found: Ngurdoto Crater (surrounded by forest), the Momela Lakes (alkaline) and Mount Meru (lush forest and bare rock). These are all at varying altitudes and as a result have very different vegetation – it is all this that helps to make this such a diverse park to visit.

Animals

Despite its small size, Arusha National Park has a rich variety of wildlife. Within the park's three vegetation zones, many different kinds of animals can be found. Near water, reedbuck and waterbuck can be spotted, while shy bushbuck and duiker keep to the forested parts of the park. The Mount Meru eco-system is especially diverse, and home to some of the more elusive larger mammals, such as leopard and hyena.

Birds

Almost 400 species of birds have been recorded in the park. Some of them are migratory and only present between October and April, others are permanent residents. Especially the Momela lakes are a great place for bird watching, which host a large concentration of waterbirds, including flamingos. There is also a variety of raptors, which hide in the forested areas of Mount Meru.

Vegetation

The park is only 137km², but includes a diverse range of habitats. There are three distinct areas to be found: Ngurdoto Crater, the Momella Lakes and the rugged Mount Meru. Correlated to the altitude and geology of Arusha National Park you can find mountain rainforests, open savannah, alkaline lakes and even a volcanic crater. On clear days you get great views of Mount Meru, which is Africa's fifth highest mountain and within the parks boundary. You can also see across to Kilimanjaro - which is 50km away.

Arusha's Airports

There are two airports near Arusha: Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) is 40km east of town, off the main highway between Arusha and the mountain. KIA is used for larger international flights from Kenya, Nairobi and Europe, as well as regional safari connections in Tanzania. The much smaller Arusha Airport, on the town's western fringes, is a minor hub for Tanzanian regional flights.

Where to stay in Arusha

Our suggestions for places to stay in Arusha


Rivertrees Country Inn

Rivertrees Country Inn

Rivertrees is a peaceful and relaxing place to stay, not far from Arusha. It can be added to either the beginning or end of a safari.


86% (42 reviews)
Onsea House

Onsea House

Onsea House is a small, family-run guesthouse on the outskirts of Arusha. The rooms are quite simple, but service and food here are good.


91% (32 reviews)
Arusha Coffee Lodge

Arusha Coffee Lodge

Arusha Coffee Lodge is a neat, comfortable lodge, right on the highway, close to Arusha Airport. It is a convenient stop for a night.


88% (28 reviews)
Machweo

Machweo

Machweo is a nine-room lodge on the outskirts of Arusha. The rooms are large and stylish, and the service and food here are very good.


87% (15 reviews)
Kia Lodge

Kia Lodge

Kia Lodge is a simple, country-club-style lodge situated close to the buildings and runway of Kilimanjaro International Airport.


75% (12 reviews)
Airport Planet Lodge

Airport Planet Lodge

Airport Planet Lodge is a new hotel located close to Kilimanjaro Airport, making it ideal for a short stay before or after your international flight.


96% (10 reviews)
Hatari Lodge

Hatari Lodge

Hatari Lodge is designed around a bright, fun 1960s retro theme and is a relatively high-quality base to explore Arusha National Park.


93% (6 reviews)
Katambuga House

Katambuga House

Katambuga House is a smart hotel on the western side of Arusha, an hour’s drive from Kilimanjaro Airport and 10 minutes from Arusha Airport.


96% (5 reviews)
Mount Meru Game Lodge & Sanctuary

Mount Meru Game Lodge

Mount Meru Game Lodge, near Arusha, is a good spot to stay en route to northern Tanzania's most famous safari areas.


80% (5 reviews)
Legendary Lodge

Legendary Lodge

Legendary Lodge is boutique luxury lodge, perfect for an indulgent overnight stay at the start or end of your safari.


100% (4 reviews)
Twiga Lodge

Twiga Lodge

Twiga is a Tudor-style lodge with welcoming owners, country-style gardens and a viewing platform looking onto Arusha National Park.


No reviews yet
Arusha Serena Hotel

Arusha Serena Hotel

The Serena Arusha Hotel is a comfortable hotel close to Lake Duluti. It makes a good stopover before or after a safari in northern Tanzania.


No reviews yet
Siringit Kilimanjaro Golf Safari Retreat

Siringit

Siringit Kilimanjaro Golf Safari Retreat is a six-bedroom villa offering a luxury stay in complete privacy on a championship golf course.


No reviews yet

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings in Arusha

This is their success for sightings in Arusha.
Click on a species for more detail. How we work this out.


Buffalo

100% success

Elephant

100% success

Giraffe

100% success

Zebra

100% success

Leopard

0% success

Wild dog

0% success

Spotted Hyena

0% success

Wildebeest

0% success

Hippo

0% success

Striped Hyena

0% success

Aardvark

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

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